A ticket to ride no more: Travel goes contactless

Ingenico’s new Open Payment technology is changing the way we travel by swapping paper-based tickets for NFC-enabled devices.

How many times have you missed a train because you were stuck in a never-ending queue, fumbling around for change at a ticket machine, or were unsure of which travel pass you needed to buy?

Nearly half of commuters complain of suffering such anguish, but Ingenico’s new Open Payment technology will put an end to these problems.

Open Payment allows NFC-enabled (near-field communications) objects such as bank cards and mobile phones to become your transport ticket. No pre-registration is required – travellers just tap the validator to enter and exit, then the system automatically calculates the best-value ticket for you at the end of your journey, whether it be a single trip, day pass or multi-day card.

Venceslas Cartier, Marketing Solutions Manager at Ingenico

It’s not just commuters who benefit: for transport companies, processing a passenger with Open Payment technology can be up to 10 times cheaper than issuing a paper ticket. Cash management requirements are also dramatically reduced.

As NFC adoption goes mainstream, contactless transport payment will become the norm. Venceslas Cartier, Ingenico’s Vertical Solutions Marketing Manager, explains more about the incredible potential of Open Payment.

Is Open Payment just for rail or metro services?

No, you can install it in any transport environment equipped with NFC-acceptance devices, such as buses, bicycle stations or cars. Open Payment simply makes using the services easier. 

For tourists, using transport systems can be quite challenging as they rarely know if they need a day ticket, a book of tickets, a three-day pass or something else entirely. With Open Payment, all you have to do is tap in and tap out.

Where has Ingenico’s Open Payment system been launched?

Over the last two years, Ingenico has installed Open Payment solutions across Europe. We started in Milan on the Trenord trains that link the airport to the city centre. The system has also been deployed in metro stations in Kiev and recently in buses in Poland.

Our goal is to provide seamless interoperability between all payment and transport systems.

Ingenico definitely has the expertise and scale to provide hardware and payment solutions that can meet the market demands for security, speed and flexibility.

Are you focusing on a particular region for Open Payment?

The development of Open Payment is closely linked to contactless deployment, hence why our initial market has been Europe. We have a strong focus on Eastern Europe in particular – contactless card penetration is much higher there than in the UK or France. For example, in Poland, almost 70% of all payment cards are equipped with contactless technology.

Our next focus is North America and Asia, followed by emerging markets.

We’re not just targeting major cities like Paris, New York, Chicago, Singapore or Sydney. We’re also looking at small- and medium-sized cities that require these solutions. For instance, with Open Payment, you could take a train from London to Reading, then catch a bus to a nearby town, and even hire a bicycle to ride home. All you would need is your contactless card or phone.

And this is just the beginning of the Open Payment adventure – the number of contactless cards is expected to double by 2019 in developed countries.


What are the other benefits, such as in terms of customer intelligence?

Thanks to tokenization, transport operators can collect important data, such as how often and where commuters use their passes, or the split between daily passes and single trips. It opens up new revenue opportunities for operators and enables them to improve travel management processes.

It also has great added value for consumers – they can benefit from more cost-effective fares, loyalty programmes and our Travel Care portal. The Travel Care portal allows commuters to print out their trips and transactions, which can be useful if, for example, someone is travelling for business and they need details of their trips for their company’s records.

How do you make sure the data is securely stored?

All of the transactions are secured using a ‘token-based’ solution, which guarantees the confidentiality of a customer’s card data and each payment.

What is Ingenico’s roadmap for this new Open Payment platform?

The Ingenico Open Payment technology combines new hardware and software elements based on our payment gateway solutions. We expect to have the first generation ready to roll out by mid 2018.

What is the potential market size?

The market in Europe is forecasted to double from 2015 to 2020, and is expected to be worth €1.5 billion annually by 2020. With its expertise and scale to provide a full hardware and software platform, Ingenico wants to position itself as one of the key players in the Open Payment arena, working with the major integrators of this market to provide the best of breed offer.

Are you looking at other sectors where you could apply the same technology?

At the moment, we’re mainly focusing on public transport (bus, tram, train and metro), as well as bicycle and electric car rentals. However, in the future, we’re looking at other applications for retail. We’re also thinking about gaming, entertainment and hospitality.